If you have osteoarthritis, you know how painful it can be. Knee pain can make us want to exercise less, or not at all. But living a sedentary lifestyle makes knee pain far worse. When the muscles in the knee are stronger, functionality is better, pain is reduced and osteoarthritis affects us a lot less. There are many exercises you can use to strengthen your knee while avoiding knee pain.
The first one is a hamstring stretch. This will keep your muscles flexible, and increase your range of motion. To do the stretch, lie down flat on your back. Take a bed sheet and place it around your foot, as if you had a horse in the reins. Pull your leg up slowly using the sheet. Hold it for 20 seconds, giving the leg a good stretch. Lower your leg and repeat. Do this stretch twice for each leg.
To prevent injury and pain, stretch your calves as well. Hold on to the back of a chair. Bend one leg and step forward with the other. Straighten out your back leg slowly. Hold this position for 20 seconds. You should feel your calf stretch. Don’t stretch it too far. But if you are too ginger with it, you won’t get the effect. Go slow and feel it out, and see what is right for you. Then switch and do the other leg. Once on each side should be enough.
Straight Leg Raise
A straight leg raise can help build muscle and strengthen the knee. Lie on the floor on your back. Lift one leg into the air. The other leg should be bent at the knee, with the foot flat on the floor. With the leg in the air, the toes should point upward. Hold your leg like that for three seconds, making the muscles nice and taut. Then slowly lower it back down again. Perform two sets of ten.
If the straight leg raise is too much for you, a quad set should be better. Lie on your back with both legs straight in front of you on the floor. Flex and hold the muscle in one leg, holding it for five seconds. Then let it relax. Do two sets of 10 with each leg.
Lastly, a pillow squeeze can strengthen the inside of your legs, taking stress off the knee. Sit down in a chair with your feet flat and your hands at your sides. Place a pillow between your knees. Squeeze it with your legs until it is folded between the knees. Hold it for five seconds like this and then relax. Do two sets of ten.